Sunday, 11 April 2010

Some thoughts on blogging, plus another nice Carignan

It is now almost a year since I started blogging in earnest (a couple of entries between October 2008 and April 2009 were hardly enough to show much commitment!) since when I have clocked-up over 90 entries. For a while, I had no real way of knowing how many people were actually viewing the blog, apart from the replies that were posted. So in December 2009, I added a little gizmo called Flag Counter (which you can see just below my photo on the right-hand side of the page). This tells me that, since 21 December 2009, the blog has been viewed by almost 1,900 unique visitors from 59 different countries, with around 4,300 total views - an average of around 40 views per day. Encouragingly, those viewing figures continue to climb, and I'm still getting between 15 and 20 new visitors a day. On days when I post a new entry, the typical visitor count average around 60 to 70. For some strange reason, the highest number of visitors was actually on my birthday, with 105 visitors (including 54 new ones)!

The biggest problem I have is time - or, rather, the lack of it. Juggling all the responsibilities of a day job, a wine business and a family means that there are simply not enough hours in a day for me to do all I want to do. I would love to post a new entry every day, but it is neither possible nor (in my opinion) desirable. Some bloggers think they must do this in order to retain the interest of their readers but, with the best will in the world, it is not necessary, especially if the content becomes diluted. Frankly, I don't really want to know if some or other blogger went for a walk with their dog. And whilst I myself retain the right to post entries about a few other things or issues that may be of interest to me, I realise that most people look at my blog because of the wine-related content. And I hope that you find that content interesting enough to keep coming back. If I have something useful to say, that people want to read (and post comments on) then it is worth the effort I put in.

In fact, when I look back on the entries I have made, I don't hold back on the actual amount of content. Although I tend to post an average of three entries per week, they are sizeable posts - I feel that if something is worth writing about, it is worth doing properly. Having said that, if any of my readers feel that I don't post often enough, or that what I do post is too involved, then please do let me know. I attend at least one wine tasting event a week, and often more, so - believe me - I am certainly not short of wines to comment on. But I am always wary of posting too many tasting notes. There are countless websites where you can read plenty of those, so I try to stick to the ones I myself find particularly interesting - even if many of the wines are mine!

Anyway, this appears to be a perfectr opportunity to thank everyone who reads this blog for doing so. It always helps to know I am not talking to myself!

Meanwhile, here's a quick note on yet another Carignan I've been enjoying this weekend;

A deep, dark purple colour with aromas of bramble, black cherry, coffee grounds and dark chocolate. It is beautifully fresh and perfectly balanced in the mouth, with impressive concentration of black fruit and chocolate flavours, mouthwatering acidity and remarkably fine tannins. Although there is an immense core of fruit, there is also a savoury depth, which is accentuated by time in the glass. Indeed, I am writing this note a full 2 days after first opening the bottle and it is holding-up (and developing) beautifully. It is very moreish, with just the right weight. And although it is lovely to drink now, it is definitely a keeper - and a very fine wine. Who ever said that Carignan variety wasn't capable of making great wine? They must have been mad.

Now I have a few things to do before settling down for a hard-earned night in front of the telly watching the golf. And if the outcome is a win for a Brit, you can be sure I'll be posting a non-wine-related entry tomorrow!


AlanM said...

I like the blog just as it is Leon, keep it up. If I wanted twitter style comments then I'd look for something else but I'd rather read something with real content. It's also interesting that you've started to be more forthright on issues such as sulphur, biodynamics, closures. Good.

As for Monplezy we vivsited last summer, the car suspension has just about recovered! Very nice wines though I preferred the Faugeres wines later in the day personally.

Graham said...

I looked at the Montplezy and the Emocion is stated to have 50% Grenache and 5% Syrah. It doesn't mention a year but the wine above talks about 2005 harvest.
Sadly it seems like another misleading French wine website.

I'm curious why I haven't come across this estate. I'm sure I must have tasted it at some event but it can't have been memorable, and I haven't seen it on restaurant lists.

On blogging, as Alan hints at, interestingly Facebook and Twitter seems to have resulted improved content quality for blogs by removing what you coin the "dog walking" post.

Leon Stolarski said...

Alan/Graham - Although I do admit to having a Facebook account, I hereby give you permission to shoot me if I ever become sad enough to indulge myself in Twitter. How on earth can wine journalists (just as a for instance) be so arrogant to think that people are interested following their every move? Then again, Jancis Robinson's 6,000-odd followers can't be wrong, can they? ;-)

Graham - Monplezy make some lovely wines. Very clean and very correct. I suspect that they will age beautifully. As an aside, the Cuvée Georges Sutra de Germa Rosé is a very fine example of it's kind. You should pay them a visit.

I've just looked at their website and see what you mean about the description for Emocion. Furthermore, it says the same on the details I was given. Having said that, Anne must have told me that Emocion is 100% Carignan - I can't imagine having dreamed that one(!) I'll email her and seek clarification, and post a further reply when I hear back from her.

Vinogirl said...

I like carignan, used to drink the offering from Chateau Routas quite frequently (it used to be available in my local wine store), although it does have cinsault etc. blended in. I don't care if Jancis calls it "the bane of the wine industry"'s a very food friendly wine.

Graham said...

Vinogirl - to give credit to Jancis I think she has updated her views where old Carignan vines on good sites are concerned. For example, the original Oxford Dictionary of wine (that I have) dismissed Carignan out of hand, but newer edition(s) have mellowed somewhat.
She does, after all, have a residence somewhere the Languedoc.

Louise said...

Big up the Carignan, I say! Anyone who's attending LIWF should check out Charles Metcalfe's Carignan presentation on the Sud de France stand, 2.30 pm on Tuesday May 18. Come say hello to me, too, while you're at it...

Louise said...

Leon, I enjoy your blog, although I do find some of the entries a bit long... I'd settle for a bit shorter and a bit more often. There's so much out there to cover, after all! The Montplezy Emocion is, I believe, available at the amazing Montpellier wine shop/bar/restaurant Trinque Fougasse. I'm sure I noticed the label there not so long ago - which shows how important a distinctive label can be, no?

Leon Stolarski said...

Louise - I do take your point about the length of some of my posts, but when I get writing about a serious (to me) subject, I tend to get immersed(!) I would also like to post more often, but am firmly of the view that I should do so only if I have something interesting to say. I like to think of my blog as a soapbox, rather than a diary.

Thanks for reading, though - and please keep on reading!